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Finding Information

How to find information

Before you start your assignment

Before you start researching and writing your assignment make sure you know what your assignment requirements are. See QUT CiteWrite for tips on how to analyse your assignment task.

Creating a concept map

Once you have analysed your assignment task, create a concept map showing the key ideas that relate to your topic. A concept map:

  • Articulates ideas, concepts and thoughts
  • Creates relationships between concepts
  • Visualises for communication
  • Organises your research on your topic

Creating a concept mapping – how is it done?

  • Start with your major concept or research topic
  • Identify the main aspects (who, what, when, why and how?) and link these to your topic
  • Use keywords / brief phrases
  • Identify relationships between concepts
  • Develop and focus your concepts from general to specific
  • Review your concept map regularly

How to find your unit readings

A great place to start when preparing for your assignment is your unit readings. You can find these in a number of locations:

QUT Readings - type EGB100 into the QUT Readings database for your readings in Engineering Sustainability and Professional Practice.

QUT Library - here for ebook and print copies of your textbook Engineering your future : an Australasian guide by David Dowling et al.

How to creating a search statement using the Information Search Planner Template

Based on the terms/phrases from your concept map identify the key ideas.
Then come up with alternative search terms (synonyms) to broaden your search.

Use the Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) to link your terms.

  • OR  (use to combine synonyms - widens search)
    Example: corridors OR pathways
  • AND  (use to combine concepts - narrows search)
    Example: corridors AND frogs AND Austral*

  • NOT  (narrows search)
    Example: pathways NOT gardens

Use Truncation when searching for variations of a word e.g. Austral* = Australia, Australia’s, Australian, Australasia etc.
Use a Wildcard when unsure of spelling or to widen your search e.g. organi?e (organise; organize); wom?n (woman; women).
Use Phrase searching when looking for two or more words together e.g. “wildlife corridors”.

Once you have defined a search statement you are ready to start searching. One of the best places to search is in the Library Search. The Library Search is a great starting point to search for articles and books. For more information see Using the Library search (formerly known as Quick Find).

The video below shows you how to do Basic search.

Once you have found information you will need to evaluate it to make sure it is reliable and appropriate for your assignment. Use the CRAAP test to critically evaluate your sources.

The video below has more information.

You might also like to watch this video on critical thinking. This video deals with logic and faulty arguments and will help to develop your understanding of critical thinking.

TechNyou. (2011). Critical Thinking Part 1: a valuable argument [video file]. Retrieved from

Subjects: Engineering / Aerospace engineering, Engineering / Chemical process engineering, Engineering / Civil engineering, Engineering / Computer and software systems engineering, Engineering / Electrical engineering, Engineering / Mechanical engineering, Engineering / Mechatronics engineering, Engineering / Medical engineering
Tags: egb100, engineers without borders, EWB Challenge 2019